April 23, 2013 at 11:15 AM ET
“America’s Got Talent” fans can expect to see quite a few changes when the show returns next month. From its new location at Radio City Music Hall in New York, to the addition of judges Mel B and Heidi Klum, it promises to be “bigger and better than any season" before -- at least that's what judge Howie Mandel said during a panel discussion at the NBC Summer Press Day on Monday.
But while changes are in store, returning judge Howard Stern wanted to make it clear to his new co-stars that one thing is going to stay the same.
“I’m the star of this show,” he said.
Stern was certainly the star of the panel discussion, playfully ribbing Klum for getting the lion’s share of the audience questions.
"(Host) Nick (Cannon) is married to Mariah Carey,” Stern told the audience. “There are questions to be asked. I have about 50 of them! I'm only answering Heidi questions. Why don't you ask me what it's like to be a mom?"
After Klum explained how she managed to juggle the "AGT," in addition to her “Project Runway” hosting duties and motherhood, Stern was ready with a few more zingers.
“You're gonna judge, but you're gonna be neglecting your children," he told her. “Something’s got to give. You're gonna bring the kids while we're doing the show? All, like, ten of them? That's gonna be fun.”
Klum (who, for the record, only has four kids) seemed unfazed by Stern’s jokes. The former model was eager to let the audience know what she would be bringing to the judging table.
"I feel like I've seen things all over the world,” she said. “Being married to a musician for eight years, I've seen a lot of things, (and) I want to tell everyone how they're doing. I think it's part of my personality too."
In addition to the new four-judge format, "America's Got Talent" executive producer Sam Donnelly said that viewers will see other modifications this season.
"We're making some changes around the way we do storytelling,” she said. “They're all subtle changes rather than actual big format ones. Generally it's a freshening up of how we tell stories, some backstage reality. We get to some of these guys (the judges) in more candid moments, which will be interesting. They don't know that yet."
One of the biggest changes will be how the judges' votes will work. With four judges on the panel rather than three, a contestant will now be required to get three “yes” votes in order to move onto the next round.
“If there are two and two -- two people like the performance and two people don’t like it, that’s a no,” Mandel explained. “You have to have three ‘yes’ votes to get through.”
“They’ve also given me complete veto power over the rest of the judges,” Stern teased. “And I’m going to be topless. Everyone’s thrilled about that.”
While the new season of “AGT” will be different than any before it, Stern sees no reason to alter the way he presents himself on the show.
"I'm not bringing anything different,” he said. “I'm an honest judge; you saw how good I was last season. I'm going to take these six- and seven-year-olds and make them cry!"
“America’s Got Talent” returns to NBC at 9 p.m. on June 4.